Landscaping and Pets

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photo: Jay Woodworth

Did you know that there are plants that are harmful to animals? If there are pets in the home that like to chew, it is a good idea to make a careful plan to avoid certain plants.

Part of a plant’s protective nature is to ensure that it continues to thrive by repelling predators. When animals are released into the yard, they may see flowers as an opportunity to munch on a new snack. With the wrong can of plants, they may wind up very sick or worse.

Some of the most beautiful plants tend to be the most harmful to pets, such as certain bulbs, wisteria, and azaleas. The flowers and leaves on these plants are highly toxic, so they need to be watched out for even when they are not in bloom.

There can be many hazards in the yard, including the mulch or bark used for a decorator’s touch. Many of these elements can make your pet very ill. So, what do you do to make sure that your garden and your pets live in harmony?

Choose plants that are safer for your pets

Landscaping and pets can actually be a harmonious set of considerations. If you do have that “chewer” and you still want a garden, consider annuals instead. Think about plants that seem to disappear when deer are around — plants such as petunias, pansies, angelonia, and bacopa. These plants are high-flowering annuals that add a lot of color, are very resistant to animal munching and are low maintenance for the gardener.

These plants are easy to plant, very cost effective and tend to have rapid growth, making them ideal for that perfect yard where your pet loves to roam. There are good plants like catnip that you can plant in your yard for that feline friend. Cats are highly attracted to this plant, and this could deter them from eating other delectable plants in your garden.

Landscaping and pets: preventative measures

This is also a good time to install borders or another type of hard-scape to help prevent your pet from reaching the plants. It is important to remember that if any pesticides have been used, to keep your pet away from that area. Or better yet; find ways of not using pesticides at all by choosing plants that naturally repel their native predators, without harming your pets.

Hanging plants are a great way to have those plants that you love, but that can’t hurt your pet. There are many types of pots available that will support larger plants that can be suspended. This is also a great idea if you do no have a large yard area to work with.

Be aware of your pet’s movements in your landscaped space

The best advice is to simply keep an eye on your pet while outdoors.  Being aware of your pet’s habits, and interests in specific regions of your landscaped space can go a long way. For those areas where your pet is likely to explore, re-plant any problem plants in another location, or replace them entirely with more benign local varieties. Add tasteful fences and gates that are preventative and decorative, too.

Your best set of tools is your own creativity, and your attention to how your pet interacts with your landscaped area.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.